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Unique Skill Sets Lead to Success in The Second Phase.  It’s about discovering needs and being willing to divorce our sense of identity from what we do for a living.


Finding her second phase meant using her skill sets, having a positive impact, and helping others tell their stories. Telling untold stories was part of Charlie Grosso’s goal but she wanted to do it in a way that would empower her. Likewise, she wanted to tell stories with integrity. She didn’t want the stories to become watered down.

Charlie grew up with the internet. She believes in the initial promise it had. This was a reason for starting the non-profit, Hello Future. She and her team at Hello Future teach refugee youths how to use the internet. Using the internet empowers them.

To find a second phase align your values, visions, and passions. It is powerful to find your calling.

Living Simply to Start a Business and Achieve Goals

As a career freelancer, Charlie has never relied on a paycheck from someone else. She’s always planned for unknown outcomes. To support her livelihood, she has her photography business, but she also lives a simple, non-extravagant lifestyle.

Similarly, she was used to taking risks as a freelancer. Starting the non-profit may have been a risk, but she believed in it. Her goal is to prove that Hello Future will be a success and have an impact on refugee youth.

Robyn Graham interviewed Charlie Grosso on The Second Phase Podcast. Charlie shared how to start a business for The Second Phase. Charlie is pictured on the bottom left hand corner of the podcast graphic wearing a black leather jacket over a black v-neck top looking straight at the camera with a subtle smile.

The Syrian Refugee Crisis Led Charlie to Start a Business, which is a Non-Profit

Charlie chose to immerse herself in the crisis in Istanbul.  While there, she researched the relationship people in the communities had with the internet.  Likewise, she started to ask the question, what do they do with their mobile phones?  The answer, Facebook, Instagram, and What’s App.  They used the platforms for news and keeping in touch with family. The apps were their only view of the internet.

Surprisingly, the refugees had never performed a Google search. It hadn’t ever occurred to them.   Charlie came to the realization that you don’t know what you don’t know.  If they didn’t know Google existed, they didn’t know to use it.

Once Charlie identified the need to improve digital illiteracy, she decided to focus on teens.  Teens can teach up to their parents and down to younger siblings.  In addition, there are limited programs for teens so it was an opportunity to educate and empower them.

The program is structured for in-person education. Hello Future has paid employees that teach the students.  Having paid instructors instead of volunteers helps with accountability.

Digital Literacy

The simple definition of digital literacy is to find, share, and create content online.  It is important to realize the need for evaluating whether or not the information consumed is accurate.  Is the information based on fact or not?

To Start a Business and Create a Second Phase You Have to separate from the Sense of Identity Associated with the Work that You Do

One of the most freeing things to do is to separate your sense of identity from your career. We present a brand image with what we do for a job.

Defining ourselves by what we do and holding ourselves back because we always have to be on-brand, is like wearing a straight jacket.

Therefore, when making the shift into the second phase, it’s important to ask, what is an ideal day. From there, discover what you can do to have as many of those days as possible. What can you do to feel in charge of your own time?

Look at success and value based on impact, not numbers and measures. It’s also important to realize that there are always human variances that can shift the level of success you achieve.

To Start a Business You Must Get Curious and Take the Necessary Action

Once you’ve identified your calling and purpose it is necessary to take action.

To figure out your next phase, get curious.  Learn.  When we get curious, we explore more opportunities. It’s about finding what has meaning for you.

When you get curious, you learn.  When you learn, you can create opportunities.

Push fear aside and put curiosity into play.

Remember, our futures are intertwined.

About Charlie

Charlie Grosso has 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur.  Founding her business at the age of 20, she went on to be a successful advertising photographer. Charlie worked with Lexus, Nike, JC Penney, Comedy Central, and more.  As a creative director, her clients included Paramount, Variety, and FX.  In the last 10 years, she’s traveled to over 80+ countries working as a writer, documentarian, filmmaker, and consultant. She specializes in strategic management and program design for social enterprises, tech/media companies, and NGOs.  Hello Future is the culmination of her lifelong passion for innovation and social justice.

To learn more about your host, Robyn Graham, click HERE.

Learn more about Charlie and connect with her:



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